Though it may not have been as epic as their vicious fight last year, Leo Santa Cruz managed to avenge his first career defeat to Carl Frampton and regained his Featherweight titles lost in another excellent fight between the world’s best Featherweights.
From the very beginning, Santa Cruz came out working behind his jab and successfully utilizing his reach all while mixing it up when he had to. The more cerebral approach seemed to confuse Frampton, whose own game plan seemed to be to load up his shots once he bypassed Santa Cruz’s range.
It was Santa Cruz’s boxing skills that broke open an early lead though many of the rounds remained close throughout the contest. In the middle rounds, Santa Cruz began to slow down and his punches began to lose their effect as Frampton’s footwork and movement allowed him to slip a lot of his slowing offense. Frampton’s error in tactics showed during this point, opting to limit his output as he foe was at his most vulnerable.
With the fight hanging in the balance the two fought at a furious pace in the final third of the fight including a slugfest of a final round, but the outcome was never in doubt as the scorecards were lead.
Santa Cruz edged out Frampton by scores of 115-113, 115-113, 114-114 and regains his WBA Featherweight title. With the win, Santa Cruz moves to 33-1-1 and has yet to see the end of Carl Frampton with such a razor-sharp margin separating what is becoming one of the best rivalries of this decade.
Frampton drops to 23-1 taking the first loss of his career, but not looking any less the champion he was going into this highly anticipated clash.
A third fight beckons, and it can’t come soon enough for fight fans around the world.